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for the Blind

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Review of the new film, Going Blind

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Photo of Ike PresleyRecently, I had the opportunity to attend a viewing of the documentary, Going Blind. As a person with low vision and a professional in the field for over 30 years I am always a bit hesitant to get excited about media that deals with issues related to blindness and visual impairment. But I received some promotional material on the movie, and decided to check it out. In Going Blind, director Joseph Lovett chronicles his own experience with glaucoma. As Lovett's glaucoma becomes more severe, he wants to learn how others are coping with vision loss. He meets six other individuals living with vision loss, including a young Veteran who recently lost his sight, and tells us their stories. Each of the characters shows us how important it is to learn new adaptive techniques, such as how to travel independently using a cane, or how to access a computer using screen reading or screen magnification software.

One of the stories included in the trailer features a woman who wanted to hide her vision loss from the world. Though this sentiment is common, I was concerned about the message it sent to viewers. But after seeing the movie, and learning more about her story, my initial concern was alleviated. I realized that this feeling was just part of her journey, and by the end of the film, we learn that she now works with others experiencing vision loss and helps them accept their diagnosis and take advantage of training, techniques, and tools.

As I watched the movie, I could not help but notice the emphasis on finding a cure for vision loss. While it's natural to want to find a cure, it often interferes with the adjustment process and leads to unrealistic expectations and hopes. By the end of the film, Lovett has made some adjustments to living with diminishing eyesight and learned a few new skills, but he remains focused on finding a cure for his vision loss. My hope is that he also focuses on learning new skills and adaptive techniques that will help him live an active, independent life if a medical solution does not appear.

For those interested, the Going Blind web site has lots of great resources and strongly encourages viewers to host a panel discussion after the screening. With the vision loss rates expected to rise as the population ages, more and more Americans will soon be in Lovett's shoes. And it's really important that people with vision loss and their family members learn about the resources available to help them cope. I recommend seeing this film, hosting a panel discussion, and learning more about key resources such as AFB Senior Site or CareerConnect.

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Re: Review of the new film, Going Blind

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